Tuesday, November 16, 2010


I woke up last night around 2 a.m. in a cold sweat. The guards outside were fighting! Not just discussing or arguing, but they were in each others' faces and on the verge of coming to blows with each other. A dozen tall and skinny men dressed in their long white robes with their peaceful white caps and stubby beards which usually look so friendly, were glaring at each other, stomping and shouting.

And it was my fault.

I realised quickly that this was just the aftershocks of a bad dream, but I also remembered clearly the way they had got to blows. My team is training in how to learn from the communities where we work: how to do activities designed to get people to think about and explain their social structures, their history, their concerns. We want to know what has gone wrong in their past and how we can help them move beyond that. We want to help them build a better future for themselves. To do that, we need to be creative and resourceful, willing to discuss hard issues but in a way that is not intimidating.

In my dream, my team was practicing on the guards and they did a great job: one of the guards remembered some grudge that his grandfather had against the uncle of another guard. He mentioned it in a less-than-forgiving way, which evoked a provocative response. All too soon, the discussion got out of hand and our guards, who are usually so peaceful and kind, were fighting.

Instead of helping, thanks to me, we had made things worse.

I mentioned this to some colleagues today. One responded with flattery: it is a sign that I care. Another responded with practical wisdom: it's time for my vacation.

sharing this today with Emily's fabulous Imperfect Prose community


Leslie said...

Such wisdom must be needed for these sensitive matters. Hope you can take a break soon and be refreshed!

Laura said...

Maybe a bit of both?

becky at abbeystyle said...

O, be careful of the last thing you think about before going to sleep...that will be the content of your dreams! Take a vaca if you can! All that team building can be exhausting!

Mama Abby said...

i appreciate what you wrote on "Gospel speaks Grace..." and it means so much coming from you walking this journey here and there and, I'm assuming, often in tough places.

Trusting you are blessed and filled today...Grace giving away:) (p.s. praying for some sweeter dreams too...and loved reading about the stars:)

LauraX said...

hmm both good and wise responses kati...from what I've read on your blog in the past, I'm imagining that you will be an asset to your team...but it is understandable that you would feel fearful...this is important work and like the first person said to you...YOU CARE. This is a good thing.

emily wierenga said...

wow, your dreams are so indepth! i love that you are helping the people around you build a better future. you truly serve, kati. (and yes, a vacation sounds good, no? :))

patty said...

a demonstration of how complex different cultures and societies are, and still, a perfect example of humanity: grudges, family matters-the emotion of it crosses all cultures!
i hope you get that vacation~ ;)

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